A cygnet who had a small piece of metal lodged in his throat is expected to make a good recovery after being rescued by the RSPCA.


The RSPCA was called after members of the public saw the young swan struggling to swallow at Oundle Wharf in Station Road, Oundle, Northamptonshire.

RSPCA inspector Polly Underwood went to the incident on Sunday afternoon (20 September). She said: “When I caught him, I could immediately feel that there was something stuck in his throat. It was a two-inch, very thin rod of metal which had pierced the skin on his neck.

“I took him to the vets, where it was discovered that he had an infection in his throat because the piece of metal had stopped food from going down into his stomach.

“The vet put him on a course of antibiotics and the piece of metal was removed. The cygnet is now being cared for at a private wildlife centre. We are hopeful that he will make a full recovery and will be returned to the wild very soon.

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“It’s hard to believe that something so small could cause so much distress to a swan. The cygnet could have died if this piece of metal had been left in there any longer. I would urge people to be careful when around wildlife – even dropping small bits of litter on the floor around them could cause distress.

“Animals are dying or being really badly hurt because some people fail to put things in the bin. Carelessness of dropping litter on the floor can cause animals to suffer, but all it takes is for people to throw things away properly and out of harm’s way.”

All animals – wildlife, farm animals and pets – are affected by discarded rubbish.  Here are some tips for simple ways to help:

  • Balloons – Once balloons burst, animals can mistake them for food and can choke.  Avoid balloon releases, as the balloons can land anywhere, and cut used balloons into pieces before putting in the bin.

  • Glass – Bottles and jars break easily, leaving sharp edges. Recycle glass at a bottle bank.

  • Plastic bags – Animals can climb inside and suffocate or eat them and choke. Tie a knot in all bags before disposing of them, or, better still, recycle or reuse.

  • Fishing tackle – Line can get caught around legs, wings, necks and beaks and hooks can pierce skin and muscle or get swallowed causing internal injuries. Take unwanted line home and cut into small pieces before putting in the bin. Wrap hooks in newspaper before putting in the bin.

  • Small containers and cans – Attracted by leftovers, animals will forage inside and can get their heads trapped. Larger animals may get their tongues caught or damaged by sharp edges. Cats often rummage in rubbish bins. Remember to remove lids, and cut in half or squash cans where possible. Try to recycle where possible.

  • Plastic can holders – Animals can get entangled, causing deep sores and wounds. Always cut the loops before putting in bin.

  • Elastic bands – Can get caught around necks of small animals and beaks of birds. Can also be swallowed, causing animal to choke. Whenever possible, reuse bands and cut them before putting in the bin.

The RSPCA is a charity and we rely on public donations to exist. To assist our Inspectors in carrying out their vital work please text HELP to 78866 to give £3 (Texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message).